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Cigarette sales

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It is illegal to sell tobacco products to any person under the age of 18, even if they are for someone else, including their parents.

Tobacco products include cigarettes, cigarette papers and cigars.

Cigarettes must be sold in their original packaging and packs should not be opened and cigarettes sold individually.

Traders who sell cigarettes and other tobacco products to people under the age of 18 could be prosecuted and face fines up to £2,500. The maximum fine for selling loose cigarettes or not displaying the required notice is £1000.

You must display this statutory notice next to tobacco products: IT IS ILLEGAL TO SELL TOBACCO PRODUCTS TO ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18.

Selling cigarette vending machines

The sale of tobacco from vending machines has been banned in England, with anyone caught selling cigarettes in machines facing a fine of £2,500.

Changes to the law that come into full effect on 20th May 2017.

The changes cover a range of issues with the intention of cutting smoking prevalence rates and deterring take-up by young people.

  • Plain packs - all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco must be sold in standardised plain packaging with bigger health warnings. The new packaging is described as being 'muddy green' - apparently research has shown it to be the world's ugliest colour
  • Pack sizes - 10 packs are banned, the minimum pack size of cigarettes will be 20. With changes to excise duty rates this means a minimum price of £8.82. The smallest hand rolling tobacco pack will be 30 grammes
  • Flavours - cigarettes and tobacco with flavourings are banned, apart from menthol which is permitted until 2020

The new rules come on top of existing tobacco control legislation, which Trading Standards officers already enforce, such as bans on advertising, sales of single cigarettes, sales to children under 18 and the display of tobacco products in shops.

Retailers have had one year to sell through old stock with that period ending on 19th May.  Any retailers convicted of breaking the law could be fined, or even face imprisonment, or both. However prosecution is always the last resort for Trading Standards who will be working with businesses across London to ensure the new rules are complied with.

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